My doctor is recommending that I have a complete hysterectomy. She said that she will not not be able to do it vaginally because of my history with endometreosis and adhessions. She also said that I will definitely have to go on hormone therapy after the surgery.
One of my biggest concerns is the hormone therapy. From what I've been reading, after a complete hysterectomy, women tend to have vaginal dryness. I've been diagnosed with vulvodynia which is giving me enough vaginal problems as it is. Does anyone out there have this condition and on hormone therapy? If so, I would love to get your comments on how you are dealing with this problem.
My other big concern is being a single-mother, how will I manage to take care of my son post-op! He's only 8. With everything I've been reading about recovery times and limitations, this is really freakin' me out....(I'm just thinking out loud here!)
I am so thankful that I found this website. It's really given me a lot of good questions to ask my doctor and a lot to think about pre-op and post-op. Thank you all for that!
Hi Benmar I haven't had vulvodynia, but, like most menopausal women, I did experience vaginal dryness for a while after my surgery. Yes, dryness is something that happens during menopause and even perimenopause, even if it's natural (without surgery), so it's something we all face at one time or another in our lives.
I am on HRT and have been since my surgery four years ago. The dryness was a problem mostly when I was trying to decrease my HRT dosage. At that time, my DR prescribed a vaginal estrogen cream, which took care of it. Now I use Vagifem, which is a very convenient, easy to use tablet that comes in little prepackaged applicators (they look sort of like tampon applicators only much slimmer ). I use it 3 times a week and have absolutely no problem with vaginal dryness anymore.
It is normal to need to use vaginal estrogen in addition to regular HRT, because the HRT we take systemically (pills, patches etc) doesn't do a good job of reaching the vagina due to the relative lack of blood supply to that area. Since you have vulvodynia, I would tell your DR pre-surgery of your concerns. Hopefully he/she will prescribe something right away to help you prevent dryness from developing.
Thank you for the information. My doctor did mention the different HRT options available. I think I will talk with her more about the vaginal cream. Luckily she knows all about my vulvodynia as she is the one that finally diagnosed me after a year of playing the diagnosis game with another doctor.
I really appreciate you taking the time to reply to my post. Thank you very much!
I don't have vulvodynia, but I did start hormone therapy last week despite keeping both ovaries (they seem to have taken "a break" on me!).
I wanted to let you know that it is possible to be working with hormone therapy, but not have vaginal dryness issues. Fortunately I have missed that problem in spite of having ever-so-lovely hot flashes!
Everyone is so very different. You may sail through with very few problems.
Regarding having an abdominal hyst, the best thing you can do for yourself and for your son is to plan ahead. It makes the entire difference between being able to relax somewhat during recovery, and trying to "fix" all the problems that can come up if you didn't plan ahead. You need to be prepared to give yourself a break. If you overdo things and ignore the doctor's restrictions, you set yourself up for many more problems.
That being said, is there anyone at all who can help take care of you the first couple weeks and smooth the way with getting your child to school and activities? Keep in mind you probably shouldn't even be cooking for a short while. Ironically, sometimes the people we think will help us out turn out to be absent when you need them most. That's why I would encourage you to check with people who would probably be glad to help, but wouldn't think of barging in without you asking them. Sometimes a neighbor, a relative you don't see as often or even a friend who doesn't live too far away. Some even hire a home health agency "companion" or even a CNA. The companion will come in and help you cook, clean, do laundry and help you around the house if needed.
There's no need to panic. Just do your best to plan ahead. A good plan and back-up plan can help you recover more quickly because you won't be over-doing, worrying about your son or getting frustrated. A lot of the Sisters here will be very glad to help with suggestions.
I wish you the best! Remember that we all heal differently and uniquely. Just do your best to give yourself a good break after surgery.
Thank you for your kind words and advice. I'm going to try to get my parents to come down from Canada to help me. They are both retired so I'm hoping that they will be able, financially, to come down here to help me for a couple weeks after the surgery.
I have been diagnosed with vulvodynia and had a TAH/BSO almost 3 years ago. My vulvodynia was a result of a yeast infection. Since my surgery I have not suffered from vulvodynia at all! (Yea!!) I am not on HRT. Hard to believe but my surgical menopause was nothing, I don't think I am the typical patient. After almost 3 years though I am feeling a little "dry" and had my gyn appt. today. My dr. prescribed Vagifem. I am scouring the internet tonight to find info on it. He swears to me that it won't cause problems vaginally but I am not so sure. I read in your post that you are having your parents down to help you with your son. Good for you. You will see that the recovery isn't as bad as you imagine it will be. My son was 2 1/2 yrs old when I had mine. My parents came to help me also. The first few weeks are just resting on the couch, watching really great movies, using the time to relax. email me if you have any questions.